On what was his 16th anniversary in the office of District Attorney, Dan Conley surprised many by announcing he would not run for the office again.
Simply put, the former prosecutor turned City Councilor turned DA, said he believed it was time to let others have a chance to run the county-wide office – an office that covers Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop.
“I love the job, the office, its staff, and the people and communities we serve,” said Conley in a statement. “But I have long believed that those of us fortunate enough to lead as elected officials must also be willing to give others the same opportunity. For this reason, I will not be seeking re-election this fall.”
Conley entered office on Feb. 20, 2002.
Chelsea Chief Brian Kyes – who worked closely with Conley and his office on hundreds of cases – said
“The news of my good friend Dan Conley not seeking re-election as the District Attorney of Suffolk County certainly comes as a surprise,” said the Chief. “I have been extremely fortunate to have worked directly with Dan and collaborate with him on a multiple of public safety initiatives and programs during the past 11 years as the Police Chief in Chelsea. His institutional knowledge, wisdom and extraordinary guidance as the leader of the prestigious office on Bulfinch Place has had an incredible impact across the entire region of Suffolk County that will last for decades. While I wholeheartedly respect Dan’s decision, which no doubt was a difficult one for him and his family, I know that he continues to have plenty to offer to the criminal justice system here in the Commonwealth moving forward.”
The news also set off a firestorm of candidates debating or announcing a run.
Already, by Wednesday morning, there were some candidates who had announced their possible intentions to run – most notably City Councilor at-Large Michael Flaherty. The councilor was a former assistant prosecutor.
“After today’s announcement by DA Conley, I have been asked if I would be interested in running for Suffolk County District Attorney to succeed him,” said Flaherty in a statement. “To that I say that I have always been interested in being the Suffolk County District Attorney. But this day is about acknowledging the outstanding job Dan Conley has done for the residents of Suffolk County. I will consult with my family about my own plans, but today we all owe our gratitude and thanks to Dan Conley…”
Long-time defense attorney Shannon McAuliffe, who has roots in Chelsea’s Roca program, had already been planning to run and will continue those plans.
Meanwhile, many have postulated about potential candidates around the area, mostly without any confirmation.
City Corporate Counsel Gene O’Flaherty, a Charlestown resident, has been mentioned in more than a few circles. With support in his former home of Chelsea –where he was the state representative for years – and also in Boston City Hall, where he now works, he could be a potential candidate with backing from key county personalities.
Within Conley’s office, long-time accomplished prosecutor Ed Zabin cannot be overlooked as a potential candidate for the position. His experience and expertise in prosecuting the most difficult cases in the county has no comparison.
Looking at some of the best attorneys in the area, one cannot overlook superstar defense attorney Rosemary Scapicchio, who has argued some of the best cases in the county for her clients with great success – and remarkable toughness.
One cannot discount former Councilor and mayoral candidate John Connolly, who is a close friend to Conley and recently showed up last year during Mayor Martin Walsh’s campaign after years of silence. Could he be looking for the position?
Meanwhile, in East Boston, former Boston City Councilor Mike Ross has been talked about as someone who would make sense in the post.
Any candidate, though, will have big shoes to replace, as Conley has been a very successful DA for many years.
In a letter to his staff, he outlined the scores of changes and innovations that have come to the DA’s office through his tenure – whether with the advent of DNA evidence or the hiring of skilled prosecutors.
In his statement, he also thanked law enforcement throughout the county.
“At a time when law enforcement has come under intense scrutiny across the country I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the men and women of law enforcement across Suffolk County for their courage, their determination to do a difficult job well, and the standard they set for other agencies,” he said
He also said that the people of Suffolk County have been a blessing to him.
“From victims and survivors to families and loved ones, they have shown a depth of dignity and grace amid crisis and grief that has been nothing short of inspirational,” he said. “I am so grateful to them for their kindness, their wisdom, and their faith.”
Kyes added, “Leaders like Dan come along once in a generation. I consider myself a better public safety servant from being given the opportunity to have known and worked with him and have benefited from his leadership. I wish him nothing but the best as he begins a challenging new chapter.”
The election for district attorney won’t occur until the fall, but nomination papers for the seat and the Democratic primary in September will become available shortly.
Chelsea City Councilor Judith Garcia announced that she has been selected as a political surrogate on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s reelection campaign, chosen from a sprawling list of notable political figures in the state.
Councilor Judith Garcia.
The 26-year-old, now in her second term, kicked off her efforts to reelect Sen. Warren at the Chelsea Public Library during this past Saturday’s caucus, where Garcia served as a spokesperson for the campaign.
“Senator Warren has remained committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our community, rebuilding economic security for our working families, and making a difference in our state,” Garcia said.
“During the last six years, Elizabeth has been a devoted leader who remains connected to our residents and the issues that affect us,” continued Garcia. “She pushed for the permanent extension of Earned Income and Child Tax Credits helping to keep 250,000 Massachusetts residents and more than 100,000 children out of poverty. Her values and morals are where they need to be.”
Councilor Garcia is a native of Chelsea, who grew up in a proud Spanish-speaking household. As the City Councilor of District 5, she is the first Honduran American woman to serve on the Chelsea City Council, as well as the youngest current member. Now, Judith dedicates her time to creating government that truly represents and works for its people.
By Beth Treffeisen
Canada Geese that flout long black necks and white cheek markings are plaguing Boston’s multiple parks and fields around the city. The growing population continues to litter the grass, walkways and docks with unwanted droppings, causing many public spaces to be left unpleasant and even unwelcoming to residents.
In an effort to fix this problem, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George raised the issue at last week’s Boston City Council Meeting, stating it as a quality of life issue that needs to be resolved.
The other city councilors agreed, passing it onto the Committee of Parks, Recreation and Transportation. The City Council hearing about the mitigation of Canada Geese will be held on October 11, at 1pm at City Hall.
“The geese impact us all,” said Councilor Essaibi-George. “Whether it’s kids playing soccer on Franklin Field or people cleaning goose droppings from their dogs paws or even a city spending millions to correct the environmental impact of the geese on a pond in Brighton.”
The order states that a single goose can consume up to four pounds of grass per day and produce as much as three pounds of fecal matter every day.
Canada geese are often territorial and aggressive, especially while protecting goslings. Adult geese can violently chase other wildlife, children and small adults, hissing and even slapping and biting.
This waterfowl has no natural predators that have allowed the problem to grow exponentially throughout the city.
“I have, at least for the last year, year and half have been hearing from my constituents particularly of the Fenway, the problems the menace, caused by these geese,” said Councilor Josh Zakim at the City Council Meeting. “Some constituents have proposed somewhat extreme measures but I think it is important that we address this.”
Councilor Zakim stated that the city has already spent millions of dollars to go towards the parks department each year and that it is important to make sure that the parks are safe and clean.
Both Councilor Zakim and Councilor Matt O’Malley agreed to include off-leash dog parks in this solution.
“I think it really does address a major quality of life issue in many of our neighborhoods,” said Councilor Zakim. “I think it’s something I would be happy to be talking about with my constituents and neighborhoods and facilitating suggestions – hopefully on the more humane side of things than some of the others that I’ve heard in passing – but this is high-time that we address this issue.”
Marie Fukuda, a board member at the Fenway Civic Association, gardener and 30-year resident of the neighborhood said that she is routinely asked about efforts to control goose populations in the Back Bay Fens.
Since Canada geese still have some protected measures under federal law there are limited means to controlling the population such as oiling the eggs that are found in the area.
“What is undeniable is that they negatively impact people who want to use parkland, and that their growing presence has cut down on the amount of park that people can enjoy in the Back Bay Fens and the ways in which they can enjoy it,” wrote Fukuda in e-mail.
Fukuda added that the feces that the birds drop carry a number of pathogens including E. Coli, campylobacter, and other bacteria.
There are two different populations of Canada geese in Massachusetts, according to a handout by the state’s Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. The first is the migratory population that passes through in the spring and fall and the other is the resident population that stem from descendants of captive geese used by waterfowl hunters.
Many captive birds were released into the wild in the 1930s after live decoys were outlawed. With no pattern of migration, these geese began nesting that was followed by a population explosion.
Geese in urban areas, according to MassWildlife tend to live twice as long as those in more rural areas.
Councilor Essaibi-George stated that the U.S. National Park Service has already acted to protect pedestrians, mitigate damage to Washington Mall’s natural resources, and prevent a potential public health hazard by using border collies that “haze” but do not harm the geese.
Here in Boston, the Esplanade Association and the Friends of the Public Garden already use similar methods to address the problem.
“In partnership with the Parks Department, we already employ GooseBusters, a company that uses trained Border Collies with a handler,” wrote Susan Abell the director of communications of Friends of the Public Garden in e-mail.
“The dogs have been the most effective and humane goose control solution, but nothing is perfect,” Abell continued. “We support a humane city-wide effort to reduce the negative impact of the geese and their droppings in city parks.”
The Executive Director, Liz Vizza of Friends of the Public Garden will be talking at the City Council hearing about this issue on October 11.
The Esplanade Association has been working to mitigate the problem for years now when they hired Geese Police, another Border Collie company whose methods are endorsed by the PETA and the Humane Society in 2005.
“They see the geese as a predator and than they fly away,” said Elliot Oren the owner of Geese Police.
Oren and his dogs cover the Esplanade two times a day and sometimes they come out at night.
Over the years he said he has seen some improvement but the park is three miles long and runs along a riverbed, making it a prime spot for the geese.
“It’s not good to have the droppings build up,” said Oren that believes it is not super dangerous but people can get sick if they put a water bottle down and might accidentally ingest it.
“Anyone who lives in Boston knows it’s a problem,” Oren continued.
More recently, the Esplanade Association have placed four Geese Beacons that are black and orange canisters located at the Eliot Memorial and the Teddy Eversol Red Sox Fields beginning in September 2014.
The solar-powered, amber colored light at night mimics the reflection of light in a predator’s eyes that frightens the geese enough that they move their nests to an area that they consider to be safer. Fewer nests mean fewer geese during the day.
But, Oren said, “It’s not going to get any better until we break the nesting pattern. Otherwise, these geese are just going to keep coming back.”
By Clifford Cunningham
I’ve had the distinct honor and privilege of serving as City Councilor for District 7 over the last four years and, as my time doing so will come to an end in a few weeks, I wanted to take the time to share some final thoughts with the residents of the District I call home and the city as a whole.
I begin by thank my family for their support over the last four years. Stress that comes with the responsibility of being a City Councilor, as well as substantial time spent away at meetings and community events can, at times, place strain on a family. I thank them for putting up with those realities and supporting me and my commitment to serve the people of Chelsea, even though that commitment sometimes came at their expense. No thoughts about my family can exclude mention of my father. It saddens me that he did not live long enough to share the experience with me, but I do know he witnessed it and will undoubtedly give me his insight when we meet again.
I also want to share some thoughts with my colleagues on the City Council, both those who will continue to serve and those who will not. In a relatively unusual case, all 11 current Councilors served together for two terms. There were a number of contentious debates through the course of those four years, and sadly, a personal divide emerged as a result, one of my deepest regrets as a City Councilor. I am grateful that those personal differences were resolved and that we were able to continue doing the people’s business at times when it was most important. Despite what some naysayers have said, I leave proud of what our Council accomplished and can say with certainty our City is a stronger one than it was four years ago. As many of us step aside, it will now be up to those who assume office in January to continue moving Chelsea forward and in what I hope to be the right direction.
To the people of District 7, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for placing your faith in me to represent you at City Hall. While most 21 year-olds are busy in college or having fun with friends, I chose to sit through late night budget hearings, question department heads at subcommittee meetings, and navigate city government to get potholes and sidewalks fixed. Despite the challenges, I can say with 100 percent certainty that, if given the choice, I would gladly do it all over again.
The opportunity to serve as an elected representative of fellow residents of the city I’ve called home my entire life was nothing short of an honor, and the people I’ve met and worked with will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life.
In closing, the final message I’d like to convey to the people of Chelsea is to never listen to those who tell you that we are more different than alike. No matter the country you come from, the color of your skin, the religion you practice, or the language you speak, we are all part of one collective family; humanity. E pluribus unum, a Latin phrase that has been displayed proudly on our nation’s seal since 1782, makes clear, “out of many, one.”
Out of many races, ethnicities, religions, etc., we are one nation and one people.
And so on January 4, 2016, I again become a private citizen. I am happy to do so, and do so with the pride of one who was honored to have served my district, Chelsea and its residents.
Thank you and God bless you all.
A dedication ceremony for the new John Ruiz Park on Washington Avenue was held Tuesday morning. The beautiful park is located on the site of the former Tudor Street Garage. Ruiz was the first Latino to win the heavyweight championship of the world. Pictured at the John Ruiz statue inside the park are from left, State Rep, Dan Ryan, Councilor Giovanni Ricupero, Councilor-at-Large Calvin Brown, guest of honor John Ruiz, City Manager Jay Ash, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Council President Matt Frank, Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson, and Councilor Clifford Cunningham. More photos of the event will appear in next week’s edition of the Record.
Cutting the ribbon! Rene Bailey, Nancy Bailey, Denyce Garvey, Bill Hall Eric Hall, Jack Urbaczewski, Lisa Urbaczewski, Debbie
Murphy, Michelle Doucette, Councilor Leo Robinson, Ted Coates, Rich Cuthie and City Manager Jay Ash.
Denyce Garvey, Nancy Bailey and Rene Bailey enjoying their yogurt at Boston Yogurt.
Boston Yogurt’s grand opening was on Monday September 23. The Boston Yogurt company, next to he Dockside Restaurant, is the place to go for your yogurt cravings, with a wide variety of flavors and build your own toppings.